Emily Chase Warren

Wife of Union General Gouverneur Warren Image: Emily Chase, soon to be Mrs. G.K. Warren New York State Library On St. Valentine’s Day 1862, Emily Forbes Chase met Gouverneur Warren at a party in Baltimore, and they fell in love. She was twenty-one at the time. The couple were married on June 17, 1863, and two weeks later General Warren was defending Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. Emily Forbes Chase was born on September 16, 1840, the oldest of four children of a prosperous dry-goods merchant, Algernon Sydney Chase, who settled in Baltimore in 1850. In the spring of 1861, Emily’s mother, Mary Augusta Chase, became famous for defiantly flying the Stars and Stripes from the family…

Read Article

Lotta Crabtree

Entertainer and Philanthropist Lotta Crabtree began her career as a singer, dancer and actress at a very young age. She would go on to become one of the wealthiest and most beloved American entertainers of the late 19th century. From her beginnings as a 6-year-old until her retirement at the age of 45, she was called The Nation’s Darling. Image: Lotta Crabtree in 1868 Early Years She was born Charlotte Mignon Crabtree on November 7, 1847 in New York City to British immigrants Mary Ann Livesey Crabtree, an upholsterer, and John Ashworth Crabtree, a book seller. Her father left for San Francisco in 1851, seeking his fortune in the California Gold Rush. A year later Mary Ann sold the book…

Read Article

Kate Corbin Pendleton

Wife of Confederate Officer Sandie Pendleton Early Years Katharine Carter Corbin was born in July 1839 at the Laneville estate in King and Queen County, Virginia, the daughter of James Parke Corbin, whose family had lived in the Rappahannock River valley for generations. Richard Corbin succeeded Lord Dunmore and served as royal governor until the beginning of the American Revolution. Kate and Sandie Pendleton Alexander Sandie Pendleton was born September 28, 1840, near Alexandria, Virginia, the only son of Episcopal minister and future Confederate General William Pendleton and his wife Anzolette Elizabeth Page Pendleton. Sandie spent his childhood in Maryland until his father became rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia in October 1853. In 1857, Sandie Pendleton graduated…

Read Article

Esther Hill Hawks

Doctor and Teacher for the Freedmen’s Bureau Unable to serve as an Army Surgeon because of her gender, Dr. Esther Hill Hawks educated newly freed slaves on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. After the war, she established Florida’s first interracial school, but in January 1869 her new schoolhouse was torched; she returned to New England to practice medicine. Esther continued teaching after the colony’s decline, but in January 1869 a new schoolhouse was torched and in 1870 she returned to New England to practice medicine. Early Years Esther Hill was born on August 5, 1833, the fifth child of Parmenas and Jane (Kimball) Hill, in Hooksett, New Hampshire. After she finished public school she went on to an academy at…

Read Article

Angelica Van Buren

First Lady for Father-in-Law Martin Van Buren Dolley Madison introduced Angelica Singleton to President Martin Van Buren’s son and then guided her through the intricacies of Washington entertaining and politics when she became the official White House hostess during Van Buren’s term. Image: Angelica Van Buren’s portrait was painted by Henry Inman, while White House hostess for her father-in-law, whose bust is seen in the background. Today it hangs in the White House above the fireplace mantle in what has become known as the Red Room. Early Years She was born Sarah Angelica Singleton on February 13, 1818 at Wedgefield, South Carolina, the daughter of prosperous cotton planters Richard and Rebecca Travis Coles Singleton. Angelica was raised at the family…

Read Article

Louisa Hawkins Canby

Civil War Nurse and Wife of General E.R.S. Canby Louisa Hawkins Canby, wife of Union General Edward Richard Sprigg (E.R.S.) Canby, was named the Angel of Santa Fe for her compassion toward the cold and wounded Confederate soldiers who occupied Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1862. She not only nursed the Rebel troops, but also showed them the location of the blankets and food her husband had ordered to be hidden before he and the Union troops left the city. Image: Louisa Hawkins Canby Early Years Louisa Hawkins, was born December 25, 1818 at Paris, Kentucky to John and Elizabeth (Waller) Hawkins. Relatives and close friends always called her Lou. Raised in Crawfordsville, Indiana, at age 19 Lou met the…

Read Article

Helen Benson Garrison

Abolitionist and Wife of William Lloyd Garrison While her husband got all the glory, Helen Benson Garrison was an abolitionist in her own right. She raised funds for the American Anti-Slavery Society in many ways, particularly as a manager of the annual Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar. Helen Benson was born on February 23, 1811 in Providence, Rhode Island to George and Sarah Thurber Benson. At the June session of the General Assembly, in 1790, an “Act to incorporate certain Persons by the Name of the Providence Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, for the Relief of Persons unlawfully held in Bondage, and for improving the Condition of the African Race” was passed. Helen’s father, George Benson, became an active member…

Read Article

Angelina Grimke

Abolitionist and Women’s Rights Activist The first woman to address a state legislature (Massachusetts in 1836), Angelina Grimke fearlessly traveled across New York and New England, speaking out against slavery at a time when women were scarcely seen and never heard in the public arena. In order to lecture about this sensitive issue she had to first fight for her right, as a woman, to participate in the abolionist movement. Born and raised in South Carolina, Grimke grew to detest the institution of slavery at an early age. Unable to influence her family to free their slaves, Angelina joined her older sister Sarah in Philadelphia, where they became Quakers, and soon thereafter began to fight for emancipation.

Sally Tompkins

Civil War Nurse and Hospital Administrator Captain Sally Tompkins was a Civil War nurse, humanitarian and philanthropist who founded a Confederate hospital in Richmond, Virginia. During the war she cared for 1,333 Confederate soldiers in her hospital with only 73 deaths – the lowest mortality rate of any military hospital – establishing the remarkable record of returning 94% of them to service. Image: Sally Tompkins Stained Glass Window St. James Episcopal Church Richmond, Virginia Depicts Tompkins with her medical bag around her waist and a Bible in her hand with the Angel of Mercy to guide her. Above the center panel is a picture of the Robertson Hospital, and below are scenes depicting Captain Tompkins caring for wounded soldiers. Early…

Read Article

Amy Kirby Post

Abolitionist and Feminist in New York In her own day, Amy Post was well known as a radical Quaker abolitionist and feminist. In the late 1960s, feminists began searching for heroines, women whose lives could provide guidance and inspiration to a new generation of female activists. Many women who were first rediscovered as models of strength, self-reliance and ingenuity were residents of western New York, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Blackwell. Yet what made this region of New York, and Rochester in particular, a seedbed of female achievement was not only the few nationally renowned women who made a home there but also the dozens of women who day by day struggled to lead exemplary lives…

Read Article